Friday, February 19, 2010

A passing analogy between artificial flight and artificial intelligence

I thought this was pretty funny. There's those who say we could never create an artificial intelligence because even if we designed something that passes the ultimate Turing Test, how will we know it's not just a hollow shell that only mimics cognition? As an analogy, however, the same logic could be used by a bunch of birds talking about artificial flight:

"This is flight in the natural world, the product of millions of years of evolution, and not a phenomenon easily replicated. Current A.F. is limited to unpowered gliding; a technical marvel, but nowhere near the sophistication of a bird. Gliding simplifies our lives, and no bird (including myself) would discourage advancing this field, but it is a far cry from synthesizing the millions of cells within the wing alone to achieve Strong A.F. Strong A.F., as it is defined by researchers, is any artificial flier that is capable of passing the Tern Test (developed by A.F. pioneer Alan Tern), which involves convincing an average bird that the artificial flier is in fact a flying bird"


Mr. Pony said...

I think he's poking fun at the strict anthropomorphic definition of intelligence that some critics of the Turing Test hew to. That the fictional author defines flight as powered, feathered locomotion is key. The actual author of this piece isn't trying to erase "allowances and biases" with this extreme analogy. He's coming in here with a point to make, and he's making it by generating an extreme analogy that actually rings a little false because of its extremeness. Flight becomes as difficult to define as intelligence, if you invent dense self-important scientist birds to define it for you. Nazis (for example) often serve a similar purpose in this type of arguing because they are cartoonishly evil, and everything they did is forever considered bad. And this is arguing, not reasoning. Calling this "reasoning" is the surest road to axiomatic creep I've ever seen.

I liked this piece, because though its point was made by the second paragraph, it was clever throughout. I'm not sure it makes your point terribly well, though. Didn't I concede this point to you? Stop trying to give it back!

Fugu said...

You were going on about it again in a drunken stupor at Town, so I posted this from my phone in front of your face! You saw me do it!

Plus, this is the second time you've brought up nutritional supplements. This is not a strong argument.

Mr. Pony said...

Pretty sure we were at 8 Fat Fat 8, drunky

Litcube said...

I was at Champions, just around the corner.

Fugu said...

We need to stop discussing this stuff while inebriated.